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in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ >> senate republicans are pushing for reform, but the house gop might just land the party in reform school. it is tuesday, january 29th, and this is "now."
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joining us today former deputy white house press secretary, executive vice president global strategy group, and former obama money bunny, the man with a very long title bill burton. >> a lot of hats. >> a lot of hats. politico congressional reporter jake sherman is making his debut with us. msnbc political analyst and former dnc communications drishgt karen finney is here, and mother jones washington bureau chief david corn. channelling the spirit of rick perry, will the republican party finally have a heart when it comes to immigration? president obama is en route to las vegas where he will outline his immigration priorities just hours from now which comes amid signs of bipart sfwlan agreement on the issue in the senate. for senate leaders it has been a swift path from this attitude -- >> drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder. >> we're outmanned. with all the illegals in
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america, more than half come through arizona. >> complete the dang fence. >> to this attitude. >> we have been too content for too long to allow individuals to mow our lawn, serve our food, clean our homes, and even watch our children while not affording them any of the benefits that make our country so great. >> but even if john mccain has changed his tune, getting the house gop to harmonize may not be so easy. michael steel spokesman for john boehner, was decidedly noncommitmental on the issue. "the speaker welcomes the work of leaders like senator rubio on this issue and is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days. majority leader eric cantor would not comment on a portion of the bill that offers a path to citizenship. congressman raul labrador offered creating a new pathway to citizenship is nott a good day, and lamar smith minced no words. the senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal
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immigration. anticipating broad outcry from their right wing flank, republican authors began emphasizing just how incredibly difficult it will be to actually become a citizen. >> let me tell you the path to citizenship is a long and advisone. >> it would be cheaper and easier for them to done it the legal way than the way they're going to get it now. this is going to cost them penalties. this is going to cost them tax wrshz this is going to cost them a significant weight. after they do all of that, the only thing they're going to have access to is the opportunity to apply for a green card. >> no word if undocumented immigrants will also need to walk on coals or eat fire before being considered for citizenship. for republicans the road to reform is indeed a long one, and they must start with the very basics. yesterday a top republican super pac, the american action network sent house republicans a memo outlining tonally sensitive language regarding immigration reduce. do use undocumented immigrant. don't use the word illegals.
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>> illegals. >> illegals. >> illegals. >> illegals. >> also, forget that you ever used the phrase anchor baby. >> it's probably not the case for an anchor baby that gets citizenship. >> what we refer to as anchor baby. >> the impact of the anchor baby industry. >> created this issue of anningor babies. >> finally, in case you were a fan of the phrase send them all back and electric fence, unlearn them quickly. no mention in the memo of herman cain's alligator filled moat as a security measure, but we're assuming that's out too. jake, there's a lot of action or maybe no action. you have a great -- you and one of your colleagues have an interesting story about the road ahead for actual immigration reform in congress, and i don't want to be a pessimist here. >> i do, though. >> i will paraphrase cuba gooding jr.
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show me the house basically. the senate seems to be moving on this. the leadership is trying to embrace reform, but what are the chances house republicans can mend their extreme ways ask come around to something like immigration? >> i'll be even more pessimistic. i think the longer this hang out in the senate, the more of a problem it becomes. this is not legislative language yet. these are broad principles which steve king from iowa, who is the most conservative guy in the house, even agrees with. before we even get to the house, the senate is going to be a problem. the house is a huge problem. i think from what eric cantor said, from what the committee chairs are saying, that is long path which includes going through various committees and john boehner has to protect his speakership. he can't put something on the floor that's going to upset the right. the aides that i talked to on capitol hill think this is all a fantasy at this point. >> mcconnell said when the president address this is issue tuesday, i hope you will take a
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bipartisan approach rather than delivering a divisive part sfwlan speech. >> the fact that mccobble isn't endorsing would undermine boehner's -- >> mcconnell is up for re-election. so is lindsey graham who is a part of this group. the longer this hangs out there and the harder lindsey gram gets hit. we haven't seen that yet, are the people up in 2014 going to get hit on this. >> i think there potentially is a better chance. bill, you remember this from 2005 and 2006. those are basically talking points that we wrote. we didn't have to be told not to say illegals. you have to be told not to say some of those things. some of the friendlier language. it's interesting to see a couple of things. number one, senator rubio, everybody is mentioning him in their statements. that's clearly their tea party cover. they're, like, look, senator rubio is for it. it's got to be okay.
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>> there's one fact that will come into play. it's the business community. john boehner that we've seen on the depault and other issues is now caught between his tea party, you know, majority and the business community that funds the republican party, and that they're amenable to it. >> there's a demographic reality to it. >> putting that aside -- >> reality? >> putting commonsense aside for the moment, i guess i should have stipulate lated that at the beginning of my remarks.
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>> how long is the path? will they be walking over fiery coal sndz then you realize just houfl -- i mean, the starting gate is probably ten feet ahead of the house republican caucus. if the phrase send them back needs to be exiced from the lexicon. >> we've had this immigration crisis, but now rbz have a political crisis. >> right. >> if they don't deal with that, then they know they've got problems in 2014 and 2016 and especially 2020. when you listen to john mccain, you had some of the more kind things that he had to say at that press conference because it's not based in values. >> it was a contrast.
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the president will be making his remarks in ray few hours, and we know he is pushing the envelope on this by not coupling immigration reform or a path to citizenship with border skoous security, which will apparently be a big sticking point. that's part of the senate bill. the other piece is he is including same-sex couples in the immigration bill. how much of that -- well, how much of that is tactical, and how much is idealogical? >> well, i think he has to start to the left of this group no matter what, and i think that was kind of the purpose of this. you saw the problems starting to emerge yesterday. rubio was already talking about how amnesty or what he calls -- he doesn't call it amnesty. >> you're not supposed to say the word. snoo what he calls a pathway needs to be tied to border security, and the president is saying now. that's going to be a huge sticking point, and that's what republicans are holding out for. they're not that flexible. >> i think the fact that the president is perceived as starting to the left and i see perceived because i think it's all just good sense, but whatever, actually gives the republicans a little biltmore room to come to the center, and
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i think that is a very smart strategy. we'll see how it shakes out. in the end it will mean that some of these phrases, like send them all back, will be easier to do away with because we can actually focus on some of the key elements. >> i think the thing that's next in terms of negotiating, but by sticking to his values, that is a better way to rally support outside than getting stuck in the muck of the negotiations. right now the main negotiations are between the senate, republicans and democrats, who put together this bipartisan bill, and then let them fight it out with the house. the president can stay -- i don't want to say stay above but do what he does to bring pressure to bear and not get into a situation. that worked out in a way in the end. let me say this is your fight. you come up with the details, and i'll be here laying down the markers and the standards, and, you know, and putting my mark on this at some point in time. >> with the same-sex couples piece, it's a civil rights issue, right? the president that has really done a considerable shift in
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terms of embracing gay marriage. this is yet another piece of that. it draws republicans out on the issue. unsurprisingly, karen, you think this gives republicans a little bit of a smoke screen to come to the table and bargain. michael from the washington post does not. he says if obama pushes a fast pass to legalization above other reform priorities, he could fracture the coalition which may be the point. the idea that the president wants us to fall apart for republicans for his own political -- >> i think -- >> for his next election campaign? >> exactly. >> for hillary in 2016. >> that's exactly right. on the equality piece, i think the president has made clear that he is for equality for all citizens. when you are for, it you have to be for it across the board, and that's why it's in the bill. i think it's just -- i know it's cynical to say about washington, but it's just the right policy and the right thing to do, and i think that's why the president comes to it that way. it will be interesting to see what pieces of this get coupled together, though. the security piece, border security and enforcement, the president has already done a lot. >> yes. to the ayre of many in the latin
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community. >> if there were a democratic primary this time around, i think people would have talked a lot about deportations and how much enforcement there was. there's a lot more enforcement on the business side of this. i think that you'll see some of that in there. on individuals it's tough to do much more than the president has already done. >> this is a thorny and complicated issue on both sides of the aisle because labor will have something to say about this too. that said, you have such a problem in the house among republicans just getting their caucus together. jake, i wonder from your vantage point, who is going to be the person to sort of carry the flag for this in the house? i mean, does -- do you get the sense that boehner wants to see -- i mean -- >> is it a red flag or white flag? >> exactly. >> well, they hope raul labrador, who is a hispanic republican from idaho and was an immigration attorney -- >> he is everything to everyone. >> he came out yesterday in a phone call with me actually and saying this is nowhere near where he wants to be. he said the principles are fine, but the pathway is not what he wants, but then you have
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conservatives who say obama hasn't enforced the immigration laws as is, so he should not be trusted with a new set of immigration laws. whatever the reality is, this is what is being said by house republicans. >> the fight -- a good dynamic here is to let the house republicans fight with the senate republicans. let them go after mccain. let mccain and rube wroe and the others get into this fight and not make it boehner versus obama. i think obama would win that fight, but nothing would happen then. >> as in 2005 and 2006, the death nail for republicans is the tone of this. we had evangelical latinos wanting to meet with howard dean at the dnc. i'm just saying, that's a shift, right? >> it's the beginning of a bad joke. >> we saw in droves, you know, the latino community moving over to the democratic party largely because of the tone. you have even republicans in the republican party who are latino just disgusted with the tone. these guys have to be very, very
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careful. the other thing that these guys know is that those, you know, crazy crackers on the right, like if they start with their very hateful language, that is going to kill them in the same way that they learned at their little retreat that let's not talk about rape. >> or they learned in 2012 that self-deportation and alligator filled moats, keep in mind that herman cain was running for president when he said that. it's at least in the memo. >> look at the originality of this. if you look at some of the voices on the republican side who are for immigration reform, you have jeff flank, marco rubio. people who are conservatives, but in border areas or -- >> john mccain. >> or places where there's a lot of hispanic voters. they get the politics of this just like president george w. bush got the politic of this in a way that mitt romney did not. that's why he got 44% much the hispanic vote, and mitt romney got 27%. >> ah, truth teller, bill burton. nice numbers. we have to leave it there. republicans in key battleground states have come up with another
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solution for fixing the party. change the electoral college. why making policy changes when you can just fool around with the arithmetic? we'll talk rigging the vote next on "now." so, we all set? i've got two tickets to paradise! pack your bags, we'll leave tonight. uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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republicans believe they have found their winning strategy. a plan that would have delivered a romney victory in 2012 without having to change their party's stance on the 47%, forcible rape, or self-deportation. it works like this. if you can't win the game, change the rules. at present michigan republicans are trying to change election laws so that a presidential
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candidate would receive electoral votes based on each district won instead of based on the overall popular vote in the state. the strategy? large pockets of typically democratic voters, including minorities in urban areas would therefore have weakened influence. they would only help democrats win electoral votes in specific districts. how would such electoral rigging have changed the outcome last november? instead of an obama victory of 332 to 206, mitt romney would be president with 273 votes to obama's 262. even though president obama won more than three million more votes than mitt romney under this proposed system he would have lost the election. virginia governor bob mcdonald shot down a similar proposal in his state last week, but michigan governor rick snyder says he is open to the idea. in republican statehouses, a new motto perhaps. if at first you don't succeed, cheat. joining the panel now is president of the brennan center
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for justice, michael waldman. every time are you on this program there's a new outrage. this may be the most outrageous. >> i deny any connection to making that happen. this is the kind of thing that gives tunism a bad name. >> yes. yes. to say the least. >> i'm no fan of the electoral college wrish think we should have a national popular vote where everybody's vote counts equally, but there is so much worse than what we have now. as you say, this would make it so that whoever wins a congressional district gets that electoral vote, but the fact is democrats, liberals, especially racial minorities, tend to be in cities or near cities, and this would wind up meaning that their votes count less. it would certainly violent, i think, the voting rights act by diluting the votes of racial minorities, and it would lock in to place the jerrymanderring which the republicans did it this time. the democrats do it some other time. if you could find a way to make
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the electoral system more unfair, just based on who lost an election -- >> would disenfranchise minority voters even more. >> i read about this, and it was sort of inevitable that it would get to this point, right? this is already happening in congressional districts. in fact, democrats in house races won more than half a million more votes than republicans in 2012. republicans own the house. it was only a matter of time before that kind of jerry manderring made its way to the presidential stage. they're saying not over here while they're saying, okay, but how do we make sure we dilute the power of those votes just in case this stuff doesn't work?
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>> what's interesting -- michael, we talked about this briefly before we started this segment. when you have something like the voter id laws, which were also outrageous on the scale of outrage theshgs probably tally somewhere around this. that ended up snent iizing, i think, a lot of voters to come out to the polls because they felt like their right to vote was being threatened. something like this could actually work in the opposite -- have an opposite effect. >> with the voter id and other laws, first of all, courts stepped in to block them. >> right. >> voters especially minority voters, especially african-american voters, they noticed. they got really mad, and they turned out in larger numbers than they might have otherwise. one of the interesting things is in pennsylvania four years ago one of the republican legislators tried to do this then, and it was blocked by other republican lawmakers because they realized that this might cause their districts to be targeted for voter turnout efforts, and you could see -- if this -- in the unlikely event that this were to happen, this would be the election issue for
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the next governorship race, for the next legislative race. it would be seen as a really inappropriate, illegitimate effort to rig the rules and i think that they'll back down probably for that very reason. >> this does seem to be, again, dividing the republican side into the yahoo caucus and the non-yahoo caucus. those are highly technical terms, mind you. right away there were a couple of state senators in virginia, republicans, who came out and said we're not going to go for for that. >> bob mcdonald. >> and if -- >> he is -- maybe that math wouldn't work. >> he is trying to move. and so i think it is so outrageous, even more so than voter id ishdz. it just seems wrong. when they tried to do it this last summer for this current election, the last election, in pennsylvania, one state senator proposed, it and a lot of republicans came out and said no. they still have a ways to go to get a head of steam behind this
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effort. >> the politics are horrible. >> right. >> or state legislators who have awful state budgets. i mean, a lot of their state budgets are under water. governors in some of the states are up for re-election. not bob mcdonald. but in pennsylvania the governor is up for re-election. in florida the governor is up for re-election. the more that governors and state legislatures and state lawmakers are focussing on things like this and not the economy and jobs, the worse off it is for them. >> you are starting to see, interestingly, a bit of a pullback by some of the republicans even on these democracy issues, even on voting. governor rick scott in florida who was behind the laws that made it impossible for that well known radical sect, the league of women voters of florida. >> voter registration. >> they are behind those laws which were blocked by the courts. now rick scott has come in and said, you know what, we need to expand early voting. we need to go a different way because he knows that the voters actually will vote based on this, and, you know, this is what i hope is a potential glimmer of possibility for something to move forward. president obama in his inaugural
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address and on election night said we need to do something about the way we run elections. >> indeed we do. >> that's a chance the country ought to try to take because not to rig the game, but to take kind of commonsense steps to modernize voter registration. >> gerrmanderring happens on both sides of the aisle. there could be a democratic governor that takes it over and flips the script. >> i think part of what needs to happen is that on the left we need to reframe this argument on our constitutional rights, right? we're having this conversation about gun rights as a constitutional right and all the reasons why we shouldn't make it harder to own a gun or give somebody a gun. yet, we're accepting all kinds of new restrictions to make it harder for people to vote, and, again, i think if we couch this in the constitution and the constitutional rights that we're talking about and erring on the side of protecting the individual, i hope we can reframe the conversation. >> what helps your effort in that way is as the republicans go, more yahoo, more outrageous,
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it delegitimatizes them. if they try to make any more nuance or subtle runs at voter id or registration issues, it shows that they're out to cheat, and it also -- i don't think these governors, particularly those that are up for re-election in off years, want to bring national attention to them. they would do better with a smaller electorate a lot of these republicans running for re-election. they go into this could deep, and it will be a national issue and it will hurt their own chances. >> it's an interesting thing. for all the cynicism that people have and the skepticism and even the fear of voter fraud that ordinary sit sfwlenz and voters have, they still deep in their hearts believe in this american creed. you know, the preamble to the declaration of independence that we're all created equal and that that kind of cynic equality is what makes us americans. you do often run up ultimately against that basic set of beliefs if you try to rig the game this way. you know, i am not sure that it's going to happen precisely for these reasons. people kind of tend to pull back if it's too crazy.
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>> michael we began this in a cloud of outrage, and it ended marching us optimistly under a patriotic manner. >> away from craziness. >> away from the yahoo caucus. >> michael waldman, thank you, as always. >> my pleasure. >> coming up, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the treasury department created guidelines limiting compensation for executives at bailed out companies. but what good is a rule if you can't break it? we'll talk pay and financial deregulation just ahead. this is america.
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campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. last week president obama warned wall streeter who's liked to play fast and loose. they need to watch out for his new s.e.c. chief. >> you don't want to mess with mary joe.
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as one former s.e.c. chairman said, mary joe does not intimidate easily. that's important because she has a big job ahead of her. we will take a spin through the revolving door next on "now."
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>> the unemployment rate and wages for many middle class workers stagnant for several decades, a main street roer is still far from complete, but for top executives at firms bailed out by the government, the happy days are here again. yesterday inspector general released a report scolding the treasury department for allowing executives at three firms, aig, general motors, and allied financial to receive lavish pay
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packages in 2012. a breach of government rules limiting compensation. as the morning times annie lowery reports, all but one of the top executives at the failed insurer a.i.g. which required more than $180 billion in emergency taxpayer financing received pay packages worth more than $2 million and 16 top executives at the three firms earned comboyned pay of more than $100 million. the report concluded, treasury made no meaningful reform to its processes lacking criteria and an effective decision making process. treasury risks continuing to reward executives of bailed out companies, excessive cash compensation without good cause. david corn, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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>> it was the lack of all the folks who did this to our economy. we had the wall street casino style economy which i don't think people fully realize to the degree to which we were all held hostage by the people playing with our money downtown from here. you know, they were doing things that a lot of experts say were not legal, not proper, and there never was a really good accounting, and so only have they not been held accountable, they got to keep their yachts and everything else and homes in the east hamptons. now we find they still got bonuses, which i think is a pipal on the back side of this that they got a small piece of the big picture. the lack of accountability overall is a stain on our entire society for the last few years. >> and, there was a great rolling stone piece that we talked about that basically says not only did we not get reform, we might have exacerbated the situation. he writes we didn't just allow banks to be barred from paying
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bonuses to pay bonuses. we allowed them to pay bigger bonuses hand they otherwise could. instead of forcing firms we allowed them to pay in depressed stock, the amount which became inflated. >> since i'm in new york and i feel the ora of wall street around me, i'll -- >> especially on this show. >> exactly. i won't stick up for this, but i think that the -- what treasury said and there was some defense of this, which is you have to pay people to keep them at their firms. >> that's always been the line. >> that has been the line. >> top talent -- >> i can see david recoiling over there. >> as long as you take the money away from them when they screw up big-time, i'm all for that principle. we didn't do that the first part of the equation. >> i'm trying to get myself more popular. i think that's the problem is that the money was there for them when they collapsed and now they're getting paid big. >> during the a.i.g. bailout a big problem was actually the retention of these top executives because what you were trying to do is basically, you
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know, die construct all these massive problems that they had that were right at the structural level of our economy and had they not been there and had they not fixed it, we would have all had big problems, but now a.i.g. is a profitable company. they came out of it. everybody is better for it. you know, on the enforcement piece of this, i will say that part of the problem was that the rules probably were not clear enough. now that we have dodd fraij and we have this tough prosecutor -- >> mary joe, which we're going to talk about in a second. >> i think that you do have -- you do sigh the president a lot more focused on enforcement and making sure that there are tough rules that are abided by. >> i have to say it all worked out and we're all better off. the banks are as big as they have been pre-bubble. they're bigger than they were pre-bubble. we are -- our financial -- our financial security is no better really effectively than it was before. in truth of actual regulation or reform, it ain't there. >> we still don't have the credit flowing the way we wanted to. the housing market, good numbers this week, but the whole premise of this beginning was to do
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something about bad mortgages and help a lot of the homeowners, and as you know, even the president has said this, one of the big disappointments was that the administration and treasury secretary geithner did not put together a more effective and a better mortgage rescue program that helped homeowners. >> aside from the law and the technicality, the problem is how it makes people feel and to see that executives, whether or not it's technically true, it was a way to keep them, and that was important, and even the polls showed people figured that those guys needed stay and be part of the solution, if you are still struggling in this economy and you see these guys are getting millions and millions of dollars or a.i.g. who is considering suing the american taxpayers, that's the problem is how it makes people feel, and that's the other piece of in terms of what's been done that hasn't been addressed. it's not there. >> if there had been accountability and people saw people being punished and paying for their mistakes, they wouldn't mind so much if people are rewarded for trying to clean
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up. >> let me say two things, one is this is coming against the back drop where middle class wages have stagnated. "new york times", this is -- we repeat this all the time. we'll repeat it now. from 1973 to 2011 worker productivity grew 80% while median and hourly compensation grew by one-eighth that amount. since -- i mean, there is a stagnation if you are on main street. you see what's happening here. not only are the bonuses through the roof. there's been no criminal charges. i want to bring up mary joe white because i want to know from -- as someone who has worked inside the white house, there are a lot of people that think very, very highly of mary joe white. that includes eric snyderman, who is a new york a.g. who has been very tough on a lot of these banks in terms of cracking down on wrongdoing. that said, she represented bank of america chief ken lewis in their case before the s.e.c. she helped john mack at morgan stanley. she has worked for the other side of the aisle. is that a compromised position? >> no, because she's not working for them right now. she's not on bank of america's payroll. she's on the payroll of the united states of america.
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when she is on your team, she is fighting for your side. just because a lawyer represents somebody or a firm represents somebody doesn't mean that they can't go on and follow the laws as they stand and as they're being prom you will gated. in temz of enforcement, we still have over 100 rules in dodd frank that need to be developed and put into place. so having her there as the tough street fighter for, you know, average citizens i think is a very good thing. >> i guess i would just sound a little bit of a -- i find it a little bit questionable and i go back to gabe sherman's piece in new york magazine two years ago which says the alliance among wall street universities and the white house is the military industrial complex of our time. >> but you are also not going to find people with expertise in an industry who have only worked on one side of an issue. it's something that we see in washington all the time. >> it's a long-term problem. we see this although time with people going from regulatory positions to private positions. and back and forth. some people do it quite well, and you put them in charge of
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regulating people who had hired them before and might hire them before. >> it stays in that job for a long time and develops cred as a guy who will go after anybody at any time. we don't have enough of people like that perhaps in part because they don't get paid as much as you get in the private sector. >> fitzgerald, i think, just went into private practice. >> mary joe white follows in some of the footsteps. >> there is no question that the onus is on her to prove that she is working on the side of the american people. i think that's something we have to watch very closely to make sure we are getting out of her the product and the work that we need. >> we have not had a problem in the past with anyone being too aggressive.
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i think in terms of executing the provisions of reform and making sure that let's say it's actually acted upon and those funds are spent when we sort of make provisions for bailouts. we have to take a break, but ast reports that the u.s. will have a drone -- we will discuss the foreign policy strategy or lack thereof just ahead. [ bells jingle ] [ cash register dings ] [ male announcer ] wow. a brave choice. okay, focus. think courage. think shaun white. think how perfect they'll be for outdoor crafts. mr. white. [ male announcer ] they're good for circulation. plus, they're totally practical. yeah, freedom. scan me. stride on, pale-legged, short-shorts guy. ♪
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yeah, i'm looking to save, but i'm not sure which policy is right for me. you should try our coverage checker. it helps you see if you have too much coverage or not enough, making it easier to get what you need. [ beeping ] these are great! [ beeping ] how are you, um, how are you doing? i'm going to keep looking over here. probably a good idea. ken: what's a good idea? nothing. with coverage checker, it's easy to find your perfect policy. visit today. >> in his 60 minute side-by-side interview with secretary clinton the president was challenged on his administration's foreign policy. >> the biggest criticism of this team and the u.s. foreign policy from your political opposition has been what they say an abductation of the united states on the world's stage.
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sort of a reluctance to become involved in another entanglement, or what appears to be an unwillingness to gauge big issues. >> well, muammar gadhafi probably does not agree with that assessment. skwoo what is the obama doctrine? we will discuss coming up next. [ male announcer ] red lobster is hitting the streets to tell real people about our new 15 under $15 menu! oh my goodness... oh my gosh, this looks amazing... [ male announcer ] 15 entrees under $15! it's our new maine stays! seafood, chicken, and more! ooh! the tilapia with roasted vegetables. i'm actually looking at the wood grilled chicken with portobello wine sauce. that pork chop was great. no more fast food friday's. we're going to go to red lobster... [ male announcer ] come try our new menu and sea food differently. and introducing 7 lunch choices for just $7.99! salad, sandwiches and more.
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in a unanimous vote the senate foreign relations committee sent john kerry on his way towards full senate confirmation as secretary of state. >> what a privilege, seriously, to work with you and now to work with you in a different way. i thank you very, very much. >> with upcoming hearings for chuck hagel and john brennan, the current focus on foreign policy is likely to continue,
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although the question still lingers, what is the obama doctrine, or more to the point, is there an obama doctrine? according to the economist the president's main goal is to avoid costly international enfanglements as he prioritizes concerns. it is a tricky endeavor given the state of the world. in addition to the crisis in syria and the nuclear standoff between israel and iran, there are new protests in egypt where nearly 60 people have died and in mali the u.s. has been assisting french and african forces to push back al qaeda linked militants in the northern half of the country. for now officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens. joining now from cairo is nbc news foreign correspondent amman mojadine. >> we talk about the obama doctrine and the difficulties in
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articulating a broad set of foreign policy goals. that is infinitely compounded given the state of play and also changing leadership in the middle east. give us the latest from egypt where things are certainly in a state of turmoil. what's your read on how this affects president morsi's grip on power. >> you know, when the news came out, it is importantly linked to the united states because the defense secretary here, or the minister of defense, the head of the armed forces, came out with this statement saying that the country was on the verge of collapse. the state was on the verge of collapse if the country cooperate reconcile its political differences. now, why we say that's important is because the egyptian military receives close to $1.5 billion from the u.s. government. and hadz a close working relationship with the u.s. military. you get a sense of how important this state institution is to the overall affects here on the ground in egypt, and the kind of community that the u.s. has. it is a back door channel and an
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important one for the region, alex. >> we look at what's happening in other sort of states where the government has a tenuous grip on power or the government is basically a failed state. we've seen al qaeda lirnked network rushing in to the host cells to take over virally. what happens in ejust a minute if this government does fall. who fails the game? >> there are indications that the police force have been the most degraded state institutions. the police really has not been able to carry out basic law and order functions on a day to day basis, and that's what's jeopardizing the overall security, but what we've seen in the past and this is why it's important to the region and to the u.s. and the world really is that in areas like the sinai peninsula, if egypt doesn't exercise strong sovereignty and control over that, it can become a safe haven for the type of terrorist elements or armed
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militant groups that can carry out attacks on israel, that can destabilize ejust a minute, that can threaten the suez canal, and that has global imflikzs and regional ones as well. the concern really has to do with security, want necessarily right now the civil institutions of the country here in ejust a minute. >> i want to bring in our folks in new york. we're talking about the obama doctrine and/or whether it can exist when you have a series of sort of cal amity that is have befallen one area of the world. there are no regional partners that you have to work with or that you know well enough to work with. >> i think the president has been clear that he is willing to lead america into conflicts when we can actually have good impact and there's a cost benefit analysis performed how much it costs to be involved. libya, the cost is not putting in ground troops, but working with the french and the british. when we can do in a multilateral
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way so it's not the u.s. dictating its will or imposing itself in other parts of the land. elts not as clear as the neo condoctrine. >> or the bush doctrine. >> it means each case is a little bit different, and it requires a certain amount of subtly. the other thing i think the president has shown usually good, want always good sshgs patience. trying to figure out how to do things right rather than rushing in, and you do lose some opportunity if you take your time and assessing a situation even though people in egypt were yelling at him earlier to get involved and push mubarak out. it took him a while to sort of figure out the way to do that. >> patience is hard too. that is just continued bloodshed, and the president has done nothing about it, and hasn't really apologized for doing nothing and has basically said we will get involved where we can get involved and where we have the resources to get involved. he is giving another 150 million
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in aid to the syrian people. that was announced this morning. there's a sense that much more can and should be done. >> i think part of what we're seeing unfold is the new reality of how we have to engage in the world. >> you mean mission accomplished. >> part of the problem in syria, i agree. he i wish we were more engaged, and i take the argument is who would we arm? who would we side with? one of the things we saw in benghazi is on one hand they were putting people that were supposed to be on our side ask they flipped to the other side. that's part of, you know, we have not had the level of engagement in this part of the world to really understand these networks, to really understand how they're working and what those systems are, and i think going forward that's why we're going to have to have a new type of engagement. it's what secretary clinton was talking about next week. >> before we let you go, what's the expectation in terms of u.s. leadership in the region?
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this is a whole new generation of reformers, activists, people in government. is there an expectation that the u.s. will be even that involved? >> absolutely. they're very much a double-edged sword here. the united states suspected dictators in this part of the world for many years. people re he resent that. that has built hostility twavrdz the u.s. they're hoping with the new changes that the united states will change its policy favoring democratic transition over stability and sometimes dictators. alex. >> thank you. stay safe. we'll be coming back to you for updates throughout the week. thank you to my -- i almost said my favorite panel. >> don't tell ed rendell that. >> my friends. thank you to bill, jake, karen, and david. that's all for now. see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. approximatic when i'm joined by ezra cline, ryan grim, katrina vanedenhoogle, and congressman walk even castro. make sure to take a trip into the way back machine today on
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our facebook page which features some vintage herman cain clips. that is at with alex. andrea mitchell reports is coming up next. vaga had no tolerance for such dastardly deeds. finally... [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chilies, you get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. we create easy to use, powerful trading tools for all. look at these streaming charts! they're totally customizable and they let you visualize what might happen next. that's genius! strategies, chains, positions. we put 'em all on one screen! could we make placing a trade any easier? mmmm...could we? open an account today and get a free 13-month e ibd™ subscription when you call 1-888-280-0157 now. optionsxpress by charles schwab.
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i worked a patrol unit for 17 years in the city of baltimore.

NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC January 29, 2013 9:00am-10:00am PST

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Obama 7, New York 4, Egypt 4, Washington 4, Rubio 4, Pennsylvania 3, John Boehner 3, Herman Cain 3, John Mccain 3, Mary Joe 3, Florida 3, Mary Joe White 3, Geico 2, Syria 2, Virginia 2, Rick Scott 2, Israel 2, Boehner 2, Michael Waldman 2, Campbell 2
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